25 September 2020
Engaging Citizens On New Portal
Providing Early Support To Couples Considering Divorce
1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will be conducting a series of engagements to consult citizens on content for a new online portal that will provide early support for couples, especially those with young children, who are considering divorce.
2. MSF will be engaging some 100 citizens who have undergone divorce, to seek their feedback on content that will be useful to couples considering divorce. By taking into consideration the citizens’ suggestions and feedback, the Ministry hopes to better customise and refine the content of the portal so that it will help families achieve better post-divorce outcomes, especially in terms of supporting the children who are often the most impacted by divorce. In addition, the Ministry would like to consult citizens who contemplated divorce but did not proceed, as the portal will also include content related to saving marriages. The Ministry also hopes to receive citizens’ recommendations on a suitable name for the portal.
3. MSF will be conducting the citizen engagement from 25 September to 28 November 2020. The exercise will consist of two phases
a.Phase 1 (Online Questionnaire) – Participants are required to share their experiences through an online questionnaire. These experiences would better contextualise Phase 2 of the citizen engagement as well as the development of the portal.
b.Phase 2 (Engagement Sessions) – A smaller group of participants will engage in in-depth discussions targeting specific content themes of the portal (i.e. psycho-education, legal, financial and housing matters). These nine sessions will explore in-depth how MSF can improve the portal’s content (e.g. its tone, language), and ensure that it is appropriate for our target audience.
4. Following these citizen engagements, MSF will also work closely with the Syariah Court (SYC) to make these resources available for Muslim couples at the SYC website portal. The SYC will work with MUIS, partners and citizens to ensure that the resources remain relevant to the needs of Singapore’s Malay/Muslim community.
5. Minister-of-State for Social and Family Development, Ms Sun Xueling said, “As much as possible, we want to save marriages. Strong and resilient families are the basic foundation of a strong Singapore society, and the first line of care and support for each of us. But if there has to be a divorce, we want to enable informed decision-making so that parents can take into account the best interests of their child when planning. We hope to mitigate the long-term impact for all involved, especially the children. We thank citizens who come forward to share their experiences and help us in co-creating this portal. I know it is not easy for them, but with their involvement, we can improve the content of the portal to better support families going through divorce and save marriages, as much as possible.”
6. Along with the citizen engagement, MSF is also engaging the Divorce Support Specialist Agencies that provide support for divorcing and divorced families, as part of this exercise. The portal is expected to be ready in late 2021.
7. The portal was one of the recommendations by the Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System (RERF Committee) which submitted its recommendations in September 2019. At the 2020 Committee of Supply, MSF announced that it accepted the Committee’s recommendation and would develop the portal.
ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT